How Rewilding can Help Restore our Declining Ecosystems

Rewilding Britain published Rewilding & climate breakdown: How restoring nature can decarbonise the UK, earlier this year – a report that outlined the potential of the UK’s “climate breakdown-busting habitats”. These include woodland, which absorbs around 12.8 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year, and peatland, which absorbs the equivalent of around 3.6 tonnes of COper hectare per year. The idea of rewilding, the organisation argues, can also reduce flood risk through replanting peat bogs, recreating woodlands and meadows in floodplains, and reintroducing beavers.

“[Rewilding is] the large-scale restoration of ecosystems where nature can take care of itself. It seeks to reinstate natural processes and, where appropriate, missing species – allowing them to shape the landscape and the habitats within”.

 – Rewilding Britain 

The idea is that both nature and people can thrive within a rewilded landscape, with communities given the opportunity to re-connect with nature and create nature-based economies. Not only that, rewilding could bring significant benefits such as reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, and reducing flooding.

The new plan put forward by Rewilding Britain anticipates £1.9bn being used to support action on global heating and wildlife. This scheme would create 2m hectares (4.94m acres) of new woodland, 2m hectares of species-rich meadows, and ensure the protection of over 2m hectares of heaths and peat bogs. These extended ecosystems would absorb and store carbon dioxide equivalent to 10% of the UK’s annual emissions. The government’s official climate advisers recently reported that UK emissions must fall to zero by 2050. The idea of rewilding can certainly go a long way in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and protecting the environment. At ethical partnership this is something that we are highly passionate about and we would love to introduce to more schemes and developments – contact us for more information.

The idea of Rewilding is already underway within the planning system, as the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan has embedded Net Gain for Biodiversity within the system.  This aims to ensure that all new development work restores biodiversity to a site, with costs and tariffs used for those that do not meet the requirements.

Developments would aim to provide an overall improvement of at least 10%, measured in biodiversity units.  This is however a recommended suggestion and we hope that many developers would strive to have as large an increase in biodiversity net gain as possible.  If however a developer is unable to mitigate or compensate for the loss in biodiversity, they would be required to pay into a central fund allocated for improving the natural environment elsewhere in England.

The current approach to planning also has potential to promote small-scale rewilding – by linking up areas of the natural environment, or retrofitting new sites. Local plans could also have strategic policies to enhance the natural environment, and they should include green infrastructure to ensure continued focus on rewilding and biodiversity net gain.

Whether you are a developer, land owner, or just want more information about the benefits that rewilding can bring to ensuring biodiversity is created within a site, contact us. You can also find us on our social media: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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